Goodbye May and hello June! And hello to my fellow Knockout fans! As we learned from last night’s episode of Impact, Maria Kanellis will indeed have to lace up her wrestling boots to square off against Gail Kim when the two meet at Slammiversary. Aside from having to deal with Gail Kim, Maria also has a dark cloud following her in the form of one Ethan Carter III. He causes quite the trouble, trouble, trouble for Maria’s recruttiees, Allie and Sienna, as well as to her husband Mike Bennett. Never cross a Carter, just ask Dixie!
Speaking of the Madam TNA President, she is up first on this week’s episode of Impact. At the very top of the hour, Dixie holds a meeting with a mysterious person backstage. She wants someone to take control of this week’s show after the chaos that came about during last week’s May Mayhem themed show. Well, it was dubbed May Mayhem for a reason, right?
To some surprise, Aunt D vouched for her nephew to be the one call the shots for this week’s episode. The revelation comes when Mike Bennett and Maria try to figure out why they weren’t called for the job. Ethan wastes little time using his authority in his favor and gives Mike the night off from… wrestling. Instead he will be cleaning toilets, on “Taco Tuesdays” no less! Make sure to swap those golden sneakers there Bennett, wouldn’t want to get them dirty now.
As for Maria, Ethan informs her that TNA management is very upset that a leader would put her hands on her own employees. As a result, there will be a job evaluation later in the evening, with Gail Kim, to determine whether Maria can keep her job as leader of the Knockouts.
Up next, we head outside by the poolside to soak up some sun with The BroMans. While Jessie Godderz is still unsure of their new guru Raquel, tag team partner Robbie E assures him they’ll be TNA Tag Team Champions once again, if they just “trust the system”. Still doubtful by all this, Raquel appears alongside her students to give them a lesson on “focus”.
While the BroMans try to practice what they’ve learned from Raquel in their number one tag team contendership match against Tyrus and Rockstar Spud, Raquel takes upon herself to issue another lecture on focus. She grabs Tyrus’ focus at ringside, allowing The BroMans to make the most of the distraction to double team Spud.
After hitting a BroDown, Jessie locks in a Boston Crab to Spud, causing the little guy to tap out. Acting special referee Mike Bennett (Ethan sure has this guy running circles this week) is reluctant to call the bell but eventually does so. Congrats BroMans and Raquel, you’ll be facing The Decay at Slammiversary for the tag team titles. Watch your back Rosemary!
With her job evaluation approaching, Maria tries to get in contact with her good friend Billy Corgan to sort things out. Unfortunately for Maria, the phone call is cut short when Ethan takes Maria’s cell and abruptly hangs up on Billy.
In her defense, Maria argues that Gail deserves some kind of punishment for getting physical with her last week. Ethan considers this and promises to listen to both sides of the story when they all meet in the ring.
Allie and Sienna join their leader in the ring for this job evaluation. Ethan refers to the extra company as “Girl A” and “Girl B” and shoos them away so they can stick with the task at hand. With more space now in the ring, Ethan invites his good friend Gail Kim to join him. Fun Fact: Ethan is also a fan of Gail Kim’s husband Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine.
With Ethan’s permission, the floor is all Gail’s and she naturally asks that Maria be put in a match against her come Slammiversary. As with before, Maria objects to this, trying her best to avoid any physicality with Gail but acting authority figure Ethan overrules this. He takes it upon himself to announce that at Slammiversary it will indeed be Gail Kim and Maria one-on-one. Can we have Ethan run the shows more often?
A new attitude surges through Maria and she suddenly finds some confidence to tell Gail she is going to kick her ass! Ethan steps in before these words turn into action and decides to book a Knockouts tag team match. He pairs up bystanders Allie and Sienna to take on the team of Gail Kim and the Knockouts Champion Jade! Hey look who is back on our television screens again!
After a commercial break, we are set to start this Knockouts tag team match, to which Ethan and Maria have front row seats to view from. Gail and Allie start things off, although Allie looks very terrified to just be in the ring. Well, that’s one certainly one quality of being an apprentice to Maria.
Gail strikes Allie with a few quick kicks and runs her head to two corner turnbuckles. Allie lets out shrieks of fear but manages to dodge a forearm by Gail to make a tag. Sienna enters and quickly hurdles Gail to the ground for a small beat down. When Sienna brings Gail back to her feet, the tables are turned as Gail brings Sienna down on the mat with a fast flying forearm.
Gail makes a tag to Jade, allowing the two to work together to hit a flying forearm and running big boot combination from a corner. Jade scoops Sienna from behind and goes for a pin cover after landing a German back suplex, earning a two count. Jade makes a tag (despite the referee not seeing this) and in comes Gail with an elevated splash to Sienna, thanks to some help from Jade.
The babyface team tries some more teamwork on an interfering Allie but Sienna manages to knock them off their feet. Sienna displays her dominance with a standing suplex to Gail. She goes for the pin but Gail gets the shoulder up before the count of three. Maria cheers from her seat as her duo make the tag (again, with the referee not seeing this) and the two lift Gail in the air for a double team maneuver.
Gail kicks out at two, too much disbelief from Allie who gets kicked in the head by Gail. Both legal women make tags to their partners, with Jade getting the upper hand thanks to some fast hitting kicks. The Knockouts champion then climbs the top rope of a turnbuckle to land a flying missile dropkick, nearly putting away Sienna for the three count had Allie not broken the pin. Allie would then find herself in the match again when she tags herself in after Sienna endures a running dropkick from Jade.
Allie tries using words to contest against the Knockouts Champion but Jade is having none of it and quickly brings Allie down with a spinning kick to the head. Sienna tries to make a save but Gail makes the rescue with an Eat Defeat to Sienna. For her part, Jade gets a hold of Allie and hits her Packaged Piledriver finisher (thanks for bringing it back!!!) putting her away for the three count and win. Gail and Jade indulge in their victory, all while Maria is seen in full distraught mode. Could this be a preview come Slammiversary for Maria?
After the Knockouts match, Maria is still at ringside for husband’s match against James Storm, despite the earlier news that Mike had the night off as a wrestler. Thanks to some beer bottled interference from Maria, Mike Bennett manages to pick up a win during this workhorse of a week.
And finally, representing the Knockouts in the main event slot is Rosemary and her boys Crazzy Steve and Abyss. The stable were handpicked by Lashley to take on the TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway as part of “Pick Your Poison” night. Though the numbers were against Drew, he managed to overcome the Tag Team Champions and Rosemary, who did what she could to get physically involved in this match.
Thoughts: Wow, quite a few topics to discuss! Well for starters, I really am glad that this Knockouts match set-up for Slammiversary this year has some real build and investment to it. One thing as rare as these actual live TNA PPVs are the build ups that comes with it. Maria and Gail have been in this feud since February and, surprisingly, the story telling between the two has been amusing to watch. That is quite an achievement for when one of the competitors has been limited in the ring.
Maria has surprised me in TNA and though I was initially against the idea of having a leader for the Knockouts, Maria has really owned the part, which has been a key role in the feud. Add on the additions of her bringing Allie and Sienna to her circle and it’s another plus in my book.
However, I will say a disappointing point for me is seeing Allie having to “pretend” she doesn’t know how to wrestle, especially in her TNA debut match. We’ve already seen Allie wrestle as her Cherry Bomb persona in TNA before, as well as outside the company, so we know she can put on quality matches. But for the sake of character building, this at least gives Allie something to work with. I only hope that TNA don’t lean too much on it.
As for match of the night, it was nice to see Jade back on our screens again. She and Gail looked great as a team and I loved the paced of the match. Jade is just a natural face with her moveset and it is so great to see her finally come in on her own with the crowd fully behind her. Granted, there were times where it felt like a handicap match, given that Sienna was doing the heavy lifting but here’s hoping that things won’t always feel this way during singles competition.
One pet peeve I did have with this tag match was how inconstant the referee was during the tags during the match. Typically, tags only count when the referee witnesses them but this is Earl Hebner we’re talking about; perhaps the time has come for retirement there Earl?
As far as Raquel’s pairing with The BroMans go, I still can’t quite get behind it. The pairing just comes across as very random, since Raquel’s initial pairing with Lashley was dropped. Still, I do look forward to seeing if/how involved she’ll be in The BroMans tag team title match against The Decay come Slammiversary. After all, we know that Rosemary isn’t shy from any opponent.